Address: 366 West 52nd St.
Best Bet: Totto Spicy Ramen ($10.50)
Totto Ramen may have the best ramen in the city. They also happen to have the smallest eating space imaginable, even by Hell's Kitchen standards, which is teaming with tiny, claustrophibia-inducing eateries.
Totto Ramen's noodle shrine is partially underground and would be easy to pass by if not for the massive crowd of people regularly spilling out onto its steps. But if you get lucky enough to grab one of the four tables (or even one of the similarly scarce seats at the bar), and get your first slurp of those those slippery soft noodles, you'll understand why the wait was so long: This is the stuff of obsession.
Once inside the simple, sparsely-appointed digs, grab yourself a Sapporo, ignore the crowd of jealous people grilling you, and do some ramen work. if you're like us and you enjoy a slightly-scorched tongue, go for the Totto Spicy Ramen ($10.50), which combines Totto's signature soul-satisfying, full-flavored chicken broth with perfectly al dente noodles and blowtorch charred pork, all with a peppery, sesame oil drop-kick.
If spice-induced sweating isn't your thing, go for the Totto Chicken Paitan Ramen ($9.25), which has same perfectly charred pork, but don't be lame. Make up for the lack of spice with some interesting add ons. We like to add avocado and whole boiled egg, or if we're feeling extra gluttonous, more pork, because why the hell not?
Our advice when it comes to Totto? Only attempt entrance on rainy, weekday nights during off-times, with no more than one other person. And bring cash. And one last thing: Don't try to look cool slurping that messy pile of noodles. Shamelessly shovel it in any way you can; that's how real men do it.